Thrice The Brinded Cat
Pet of the late Maximillian Weer
|Hit Dice||1d8 (4 hp)|
|Speed||30 ft. (6 squares), climb 30 ft.|
|Armor Class||14 (+2 size, +2 Dex), touch 14, flat-footed 12|
|Attack||Bite +4 melee (1d3-4)|
|Full Attack||Bite +4 melee (1d3-4)|
|Space/Reach||2½ ft./0 ft.|
|Special Qualities||Low-light vision|
|Saves||Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1|
|Abilities||Str 3, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 5|
|Skills||Balance +12, Climb +10, Escape Artist +4, Hide +10, Listen +3, Spot +3|
|Feats||Agile, Weapon Finesse (bite)|
The Moonhowlers first encountered Smoke as he was being 'treed' by an angry alley cat. The party chased away the cat and then realized that the small, black capuchin monkey was actually the same monkey posted on "Wanted" signs throughout Cauldron for thievery.
A debate ensued on whether to turn the poor creature in to the authorities or to let him go. The party decided to grant the monkey its freedom and let him go. Smoke actually seemed to understand what the party had decided and happily climbed down the tree. But then it did something very odd and grabbed at the hem of Kenric's pant leg and began tugging on him as if he wanted the party to follow him. The party obliged and Smoke led them to a small, burned out shack along the lakeshore about one block away.
While Breanna and Breaden went to investigate what appeared to be a person leaping along the rooftops further up the street, Gerran and Kenric followed the little monkey under the burned floor of the shack where the monkey excitedly pointed out a charred and rusted iron lockbox. The lid was easily removed and within the box they found a burned up spine of a book and what appeared to be a human bone with arcane writing etched along its surface.
The little monkey seemed to take a liking to Kenric and the wizard has kept the little guy in his pocket ever since, occasionally feeding him choice morsels of fruit and breads.
Smoke has proven to be a bit of an enigma to the party, but some clues to his nature have come to light.
First of all, Kenric recognized the burned book spine as that of a basic spell primer issued at the Bluecrater Acadamy. The Acadamy runs a tutoring program for young, aspiring mages in the yard behind the towering school where those not fortunate enough to be able to afford the steep price of tuition can still get a very basic introduction into the arcane arts. The program is also used by the school to weed-out untalented individuals from those with a more natural inclination toward things magical. Kenric had been a student in the backyard program and completed the coursework the year before, however, being short on the funds needed to pursue a more advanced education, he had stopped there.
Kenric knew that all students of the program recieved the same spell book primer; a blue, hardcovered affair with the name of each pupil etched in gold lettering along the spine – the books being a generous gift from Lady Ophellha Knowlern, one of Cauldron's finest nobility. The fragment of spellbook spine recovered from the lockbox Smoke had led them to was the very same, and the name "Maxi" was etched on the spine.
Kenric took Smoke and the spellbook spine to the backayrd program (as he was not allowed inside the actual building without paying the 2000 gp membership fee) and was surprised to find his old tutor Sasha Kronovavik finishing up a class with a new bunch of bright and eager looking young students. After the last of the students had left, Kenric approached his former mentor. Sasha was delighted to see him back and was as helpful as she could be with his questions.
Sasha said that the spellbook could have belonged to old man Maximillian Weer, an odd old mage who had died in a tragic fire in his own bedroom high above in one of the Acadamy towers. When Kenric produced Smoke from his pocket, she excitedly told him that this was definitely "Tinkles", Maximillian's pet monkey. She also told him that Maximillian had a brother named Vortimax who ran an elixirs shop in town.
Later that same night, Smoke once again led the party to another Bluecrater Acadamy spellbook primer. This time the book was whole and it belonged to Khegan Ghelve. As the party was exploring Khegan's shop, the little monkey had inexplicably leaped from Kenric's pocket and began jumping up and down upon a dresser in Khegan's bedroom. One of the drawers in the bedroom held Khegan's spellbook primer.
Two nights later, while the party was resting up from one of its more rigorous forrays into the ancient gnomish enclave of Jzadirune, Sasha showed up at the lockshop looking for Kenric. She explained that most of the Acadamy had left town in order to attend a banquet in honor of the Stormblades at the dwarven village of Duvick's mines and that the building was all but deserted. If Kenric was interested, she said she might be able to get him to the tower where Maximillian Weer's bedroom was. Kenric agreed and the two of them, plus the everpresent Smoke, snuck off to the Acadamy.
Although Maximillian had died over a year previous, his bedroom, high up in one of the many towers that adorn the university, had been boarded up and not restored. Sasha explained to Kenric that the fire had actually started in the room below Max's and had spread upward, destroying both rooms and both the wizards. Kenric asked who the wizard had been who lived below and Sasha told him it was a creepy young wizard by the name of Fetor Abradius and he had been studying the art of transmutation. The Chancellor had declared both rooms unsafe due to the high levels of wild magic and sealed them both.
Sasha took a moment to unseal the door to Max's room and they both entered. The room was very dark, but a Light spell soon took care of that problem. They could both see that the small circular room was completely constructed from the thick stone that formed the walls of the tower itself, but that the stones had all turned black and pitted. Only a narrow rim of the wooden floor remained around the edges of the room and the center of the floor had collapsed in the raging fire sending timbers, burnt furniture and a charred four-poster bed into the room below them. A couple of bookcases and a desk still remained, perched precariously on the rim of floor nearby.
Kenric looked down into the room below them and he could see that soot and charred debris littered the room, but the floor was still solid. He noticed amid the destruction and fallen timbers, a stone archway set up within the room – which he thought was very odd indeed.
At this point, Smoke, once again, leaped from Kenric's pocket and scampered over to Maximillian's old wooden desk where he immediately leapt up and down upon it. While Kenric and Sasha worked over the desk and inspected the drawers, Smoke cautiously began climbing down the fallen timbers to the room below.
Within Max's desk, Kenric found an intact journal with crazy notes scribbled throughout. The notes were mostly a rant against the arcane school of Summoning. Maximillian appeared to have had quite the beef with those using summoning spells, claiming the spells unjustly kidnapped souls from other "places" and forced them to do the summoners bidding. An example note follows:
"Wrenching the familiar's soul from the Beastlands and, thusly, trapping it upon the Priome and harnassing said soul to its new master until death is a barbaric and completely inhumane practice that should be abolished from arcane instruction everywhere . . "
At the back of the notebook, Kenric and Sasha also found a spell, uniquely researched and crafted by Maximillian, himself. The spell was intitled "Mundane Familiar" and, purportedly, could be used to find a nearby and willing subject to enter into the mutual bond of wizard and familiar.
About the time of the spell's discovery, Smoke began chittering excitedly and Sasha and Kenric looked down to see the little monkey hauling another charred book from the ashes of the room below. Smoke climbed up to Max's room and gave the book over to Kenric. The book was penned in a language unknown to either wizard but the title, "Lafitis Necros et Frigidis" could be read, but not understood. The rest of the book contained many pages of notes, charts, diagrams and maps. One map clearly depicted the area nearby known as the Demonskar.